February 27th, 2009
05:33 PM ET
5 years ago

White House set to reverse health care conscience clause

The rule protects the rights of health care providers who refuse to participate in certain procedures.
The rule protects the rights of health care providers who refuse to participate in certain procedures.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Obama administration plans to reverse a regulation from late in the Bush administration allowing health-care workers to refuse to provide services based on moral objections, an official said Friday.

The Provider Refusal Rule was proposed by the Bush White House in August and enacted on January 20, the day President Barack Obama took office.

It expanded on a 30-year-old law establishing a "conscience clause" for "health-care professionals who don't want to perform abortions."

Under the rule, workers in health-care settings - from doctors to janitors - can refuse to provide services, information or advice to patients on subjects such as contraception, family planning, blood transfusions and even vaccine counseling if they are morally against it.

"We recognize and understand that some providers have objections to providing abortions, according to an official at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The official declined to be identified because the policy change had not been announced. "We want to ensure that current law protects them.

"But we do not want to impose new limitations on services that would allow providers to refuse to provide to women and their families services like family planning and contraception that would actually help prevent the need for an abortion in the first place."

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Filed under: Health care • Obama administration
soundoff (48 Responses)
  1. Mobius

    I'm morally against big business making profits at the expense of the consumer. Wonder how far that'll get me in the office?

    If you can't do the job, you can't do the job. Period.

    February 27, 2009 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  2. Darth Vadik, CA

    If I refuse to do a part of my job,

    I GET FIRED

    so should all of those who object to do theirs on "moral" grounds.
    If you're job conflicts with your perverted "morality",

    QUIT

    February 27, 2009 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  3. sniffitsdad

    Pelosi would love to have been my wife's doc. Sniffit Jr., might not.

    February 27, 2009 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  4. Kasie

    The STUPID Bush Administration strikes again!!!... another mess for President OBama to clean up.

    February 27, 2009 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  5. JANE

    This ought to irrate the Republicans. They know what is right for everyone. Republicans are the 'do as I say, and not as I do" Party.

    February 27, 2009 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  6. JANE

    This ought to irrate the Republicans. They are the 'do as I say, and not as I do" Party.

    February 27, 2009 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  7. Marge

    And they should. If a person does not want to do their job and use the excuse it is against their religion or whatever, I think it is time they got another job.

    Policemen are against killing, but sometimes they have to because their life and others depend on it. Why should a single prescription filler be exempt.

    February 27, 2009 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  8. Steve (the real one)

    If the service is a life protector, the service needs to be given but exactly how many abortions are for the saving of the mother's life? This gives me a cold chill down my spine! Disgusting!

    February 27, 2009 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  9. Zane

    "God is on our side" exclaimed the losing Republicans. Take notice you morons.

    February 27, 2009 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  10. texas teacher

    Abortion is a decision between a woman and her conscience. I can't imagine women using abortion as birth control. No one has a right to legislate a woman's right to say what happens to her body!

    Get serious! Only the Creator can create a soul! We puny humans can provide a body for that soul to inhabit! But that is all! Only God can destroy a soul.

    Which one of these right wing christian fanatics think they have a right to speak for God or a woman's rights!

    They want to go back to the witch hunt days... you know, keep the little woman bare foot and pregnant. Unless, of course, she is a little widow with a little bit of propriety the church elders would like to lay hands on. And yes, then witches! I'm sick of these right wing fanatics!

    February 27, 2009 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  11. Had It

    Take out all the republican trash.

    The whole world will smell better.

    February 27, 2009 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  12. Ula Nejad Sacramento, Ca

    Make up your mind which one is it. Someone is going to cut collard greens earlier than I thought.

    February 27, 2009 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  13. Chad

    Seems simple enough right? Wrong. The GOP has no problem with troops dying for a bogus war, but say the S-E-X word and they get their bibles in a bunch. Nobody says you have to like what someone is doing, but if you have an issue don't work in that profession. You can't work in a hospital and see a pregnant youth and say "I would help you but I morally object to providing you health care." YOUR JOB IS TO PROVIDE. What is next, the bus driver won't pick up a student because she is showing? It is just sick. What happened to the Christian value of helping those in need? Oh...I get it you can only help if you agree with them...so sad GOP.

    February 27, 2009 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  14. Meka

    A HEALTH CARE PROVIDER/WORKER, HAS NO POSITION. THEIR RESPONSIBILITY, IS TO GIVE CARE--REGARDLESS!

    February 27, 2009 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  15. Mike - Houston

    OF COURSE, Obama fully supports abortion in all forms. He should try it sometime.

    February 27, 2009 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  16. Clark

    President Obama should know that the Scriptures teach no one has the right to force another to disobey their own conscience.

    I am a pharmacist and have always refused and will continue to refuse to dispense RU486 or Plan B. And the government will never be able to force me to disobey God.

    Abortion is murder and just because the definition of pregnancy has been changed from the moment of conception to implantation in the uterine wall .... an action designed to prevent an embryo from finding safe haven in the uterine wall is still a choice for murder of an innocent life.

    February 27, 2009 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  17. MartiM, Plano

    First, a person who cannot in good conscience provide the spectrum of care within their scope of practice and specialty either should not enter that specialty in the first place, should work for organizations aligned with their own moral code (e.g., a Catholic health care organization), or should exit the practice of medicine.

    Second, there are current laws on the books that allow conscientious objection without penalty. Why are the republicans ("small government advocates") insisting on adding more layers?

    Third, can someone please help me understand how a janitor is involved in "providing abortions?"

    Just curious

    February 27, 2009 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  18. catmom

    THANK GOODNESS !!! This was crazy to begin with. When you go into a profession you don't get to pick and choose what you want to do or not. You do what your job say you do. If your beliefs don't align with the profession then it's time to change what you do. What gives people the right to push their beliefs on someone else?

    February 27, 2009 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  19. Obama 2.0

    Fits- it Boss Man!

    February 27, 2009 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  20. RONNIE

    Bush thought he was so smart by enacting all of these last minute rules and all for naught! It will take Obama little time to overturn all of the Bush republician garbage.Allowing health-care workers to refuse to provide services based on moral objections is so stupid that only a republician moron would think it would stand after he left office.

    February 27, 2009 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  21. MartiM, Plano

    P.S. It would be interesting to know of any statistics regarding this issue, which could put into perspective how often this type of situation occurs. It may not be all that often, although the consequences to the women involved would certainly have to be factored in.

    February 27, 2009 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  22. Eileen

    Good move. If they can't do their jobs and serve all regardless of their personal and religious beliefs, they should fine another line of work. They're putting their beliefs ahead of what those being served want or need. If it's legal, it should be available.

    February 27, 2009 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  23. Jeff

    So, some health care workers wanted to selectively pick and choose what parts of their jobs they wanted to do.

    Do military members get to pick and choose what parts of the Constitution they want to defend?

    Do police officers get to pick and choose what laws they want to enforce?

    Do postal workers get to pick and choose what letters to deliver?

    No

    You take the whole package or you quit and find other work.

    February 27, 2009 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  24. xargaw

    Reason is returning to the country. The Bush law holds Americans hostage when they entitled to prescriptions and medical care because of the personal beliefs of others. No health care provider should be able to inflict their set of beliefs on another. If they can't fulfill their obligations, they should be in another line of work.

    February 27, 2009 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  25. wallaceangle

    What right does the government have to tell a doctor in his or her private practice how to run their practice? I thought we lived in a free market economy where we could run our business the way we wanted to. If a doctor's clinic was government run then I would understand. But it isn't like education or police protection. This is a private business. Government – stay out.

    February 27, 2009 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
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